Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Night Tapas

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Multicultural Inspiration from... Spain

I love Fridays. LOVE them! Why? Coz it's my day off work, which means it's also my "me day." My day to get my creativity on, to draw, write, cook, bake, shop, what ever I want. It's also one of Sous-Jeff's favourite days, because by the time he gets home from work, my creative juices have been in overdrive and I've got something amazing in the works for dinner. Last night was no exception. Recently I've discovered a fascination, bordering on obsession, for tapas. 

Because I'm such a food lover, it really frustrates me having to pick only one dish at a restaurant. Then, a few months ago, I discovered tapas; I could have a bit of everything! Brilliant! Now I understood the big fuss over it all and why everyone was getting involved in the tapas revolution! So, I decided to make last night Friday night tapas night! 

Without going into too much detail, here's what I came up with...

First up, crusty bread - no I didn't make it (didn't have quite enough time for that!), just bought a nice crusty loaf, sliced it up and popped it on the over for 10min to get it a little crispy and ready to dip in the next dishes!

 Chorizo in red wine: slice and cook the chorizo, remove from pan and add half a cup of red wine and a few sprigs of thyme. Simmer to reduce and thicken slightly, then pour over the chorizo.

Ham croquettes: my new favourite! Add 3/4 of a cup of milk, around 30g diced onion and a few sprigs of thyme in a pan, and bring to almost boiling point. Strain mixture into a bowl and let sit for a few minutes. In the meantime, add around 10g of butter (sorry the measures aren't exact - I was just cooking by feel this time!) and melt, then add a tablespoon and a half of flour. Mix constantly until it browns, then add the milk mixture, stirring constantly so lumps don't form. Cook for another few minutes until it thickens, then add in around 60g of diced, fried up ham or bacon. Pop it all in a bowl and refridgerate over night. The next day, take it out and form into croquettes. Dip in bread crumbs, then a whisked egg, then re-dip in bread crumbs and refridgerate until ready to cook (fry with oil and a bit of butter on a fry pan, for 3 - 5 minutes or until golden). In a word: amazing.

Eggplant fritters: Super easy and yummy. Slice up an eggplant cross ways, and slice up some cheddar cheese at the same thickness. Put a toothpick through to keep them together. Then dip in flour seasoned with some salf and pepper, then dip into a whisked egg, then back into the flour. Heat a fry pan with oil, and fry for a few minutes on each side, and rest on paper towel until ready to eat.

Patatas Bravas: Well, my version anyway! I cut up the potatoes in bite sized pieces and par-boiled them. Then, I heat up some oil and a bit of butter in a pan, and cooked up the potatoes with a few whole cloves of garlic until they were crispy and golden.

Spinach with pine nuts and garlic: Super easy - just heated a little bit of oil in a pan and added the pine nuts, browning for a few minutes. Then, added some finely chopped fresh garlic for 30 seconds, then threw in the spinach, until wilted. Season with a little salt and pepper, and off you go!

 Last up are the meatballs in sauce: Combine some beef mince, finely chopped onion and garlic, grated parmesan cheese, salt and thyme in a bowl and roll into little tablespoon sized meatballs. Cook up in a fry pan with a little oil. Once cooked, transfer to a medium saucepan and add in your favourite pasta sauce (I use my nonna's home made passata coz it's the best!), and some more finely diced garlic, salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes, so the sauce reduces a little and the meatballs become soft and tender.

Serve it all up, get the bread ready to start dipping, and enjoy :) Special thanks to Tapas: Delicious Little Dishes Spain for the inspiration!

Oh yeah, and I made a jug of sangria too... went down so well we forgot to get photos of that! Woops!

What are your favourite little nibbles to make?!

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